Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC)

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

5 questions you must ask yourself before volunteering abroad

Volunteering, especially volunteering abroad, is one of those life changing experiences an individual can go through, it can form some of the best moments of one’s life or the worst, and so before a person commits themselves to volunteering abroad, there are a few things you need to ask yourself, to ensure you are making the best choice. Here are a few questions you may consider.

Why do you want volunteer abroad?

There are many reasons why people choose to volunteer abroad, one may just feel as though they need to do some good for those people whom they feel are less fortunate than they are, some do it for the experience of travelling abroad and working with people of different cultures, and therefore in doing so, get a different perspective of the world in general. A common reason for volunteering abroad is simply to make your resume that much more interesting than the next guys, but a good many people do it for reasons that are personal to them. Whatever reason you may choose to volunteer abroad, you should, it helps one to know that the good you are doing for others is also fulfilling to yourself in one way or another, this way your experience becomes worthwhile to you the volunteer as well.

Where do you want to go?

Once you have established your reason for volunteering abroad, then you need to have an idea of which foreign country you want to volunteer in. This is a stage that can be influenced by a number of things going on around the world. For most people this choice is influenced greatly by the media, many people signed up to volunteer in Haiti, Japan, New Zealand and Australia after the earthquakes and floods that occurred there. Again for some the place you volunteer in may be a place that is of personal significance, some people who may have managed to change nationalities in search of greener pastures sometimes choose to volunteer back in their home countries, giving back to the community that they left behind. Culture and language help to influence where you can volunteer.

What are you going to do?

A number of volunteering opportunities exist abroad; they include provision of medical services, teaching, construction, among a long list of other opportunities. You may need to know this so as to make sure you are in the right frame of mind psychologically to handle whatever situation you may find yourself in. It is never easy to work with people who have a lot less than you do, if you are not well prepared some unfortunate situations can lead to you breaking down while volunteering.

For how long would you like to volunteer?

Some people get home sick after just a couple of days away from their home countries, while others can stay away from home for weeks or even make themselves at home away from home in the countries they are volunteering in. the amount of time you are away, will help you with your packing, light or heavy. It will also help you to make preparations for yourself back home, like getting someone to pick up your mail for you or take care of your pet

How are you going to make your stay comfortable as you volunteer

Volunteering abroad can be very expensive with regards to accommodation and food. For some this may not be an issue, while others may have friends or family where they are going to volunteer. If you are not in this category then you can look into volunteer service organizations to help you make your stay as comfortable and convenient as possible.

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